Lisbon is the beautiful (but a bit run-down) capital of Portugal right at the atlantic coast. It is connected with the ocean through a bay of the river mouth of the Tejo. It’s port is often occupied by cruise ships, as Lisbon is a known destination for trans-atlantic journeys.
Entering via ship
The end of the transatlantic nomad cruise (see the feedback) was also our way into the city. And I have to admit, I don’t think there is a more romantic and beautiful way to enter Europe. We approached the cost in the last dark minutes, and while getting closer to the land in the distance, the sun slowly started to rise as we finally drove into the Tejo river, through the Ponte de 25 Abril (a bridge connecting the two shores) and into the (kind of ugly) cruise ship port, the sun rose right in front of us above the city. While docking and getting cleared, we could enjoy a breakfast and the sun finished it’s way up into the sky. It was just beautiful.
Though on the other hand, after this romantic get-in, there was quite some waiting and when finally arriving at the hotel, we needed a nap. Gladly, they did have a room for us even though it was only 11am. Staying up and enjoying Lisbon would have been hard otherwise.
Like everywhere else so far, we decided to get to know the main part of town via a free walking tour. On our way towards the meeting point, we were already in awe with the buildings and the look of the avenues and streets. They are great. But when looking closer, one notices too many run-down houses, windows, squares, streets, … It’s a shame, as Portugal used to be extremely rich and in that time built an amazing town. Now it is time to keep it maintained.
The walking tour was good, though a bit too crowded and therefore sometimes hard to follow. We walked around all of the inner city (Bairro Alto), had a 10-minute summary of the last 1000 years of history and our guide included some fun stories. Though a bit annoyed of the constant advertisement of other tours conducted by the same company, we enjoyed the 4-hour walk. He had some nice tipps about what else to do in town if staying a couple of days and how to avoid some expensive entrance fees, like for the Elevador de Santa Justa, where you can just walk around two corners, walk up some stairs and enjoy the same view from the same bridge. There was a short break on the main (shopping) street Rua Augusta and if you are there, taste the goods of the bakery Casa Brasileira. We had to go twice to get some seconds.
Enjoying the evening
After a short break back at the hotel, it was already time for dinner – walking does make you hungry. As the city is right on the Atlantic, I definitely recommend getting some sea food and enjoying some nice Portuguese vine with it. There is plenty of choice.
When done, go to one of the higher squares and enjoy the sunset above the Tejo. We were at Jardim António Nobre, right at the Bairro Alto tram station. Not only was the sunset over the city and the port amazing, but we also got to see see the uber cute tram winding up and down the very steep Calçada de Glória.
If you aren’t tired by then, very close is a small gin bar, opposite the Jardim do Príncipe Real, the Gin Lovers. And as the name promises, you’ll love the selection they offer and can use it as the perfect nightcap.